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New Directions in Burnout Research

Submission deadline
1 December 2019

Interest in burnout theory and research has persisted over the last 40 years and produced a wealth of knowledge on the predictors and outcomes of burnout.

Although there are many studies on job burnout, there are few seminal, academic publications on burnout, which are mainly reviews and meta-analyses (e.g., Alarcon, Eschleman, & Bowling, 2009). Consequently, there are still several unresolved issues in burnout research.

European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology

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One critical question is whether JD-R theory (Demerouti et al., 2001; Bakker & Demerouti, 2017), one of the most frequently used theories to explain burnout, sufficiently reveals the complexity of the phenomenon. Moreover, burnout differs both between and within persons (e.g., Xanthopoulou & Meier, 2014), which raises the question how burnout develops over time and whether it represents a long-term or short-term, and linear or non-linear developing experience.

Additionally, it has proven difficult to find biomarkers for burnout (Danhof-Pont, Van Veen & Zitman, 2011) although some studies point to the possibility that dysregulation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (which controls the release of cortisol) may be indicative of burnout (e.g., Marchand, Juster, Durand, & Lupien, 2014). Recent literature discusses strategies that individuals use when they experience burnout (Bakker & Costa, 2014; Demerouti, 2015).

Do these strategies sufficiently capture the whole range of possible coping strategies that are involved in burnout? Further, what are theoretically grounded and evidence-based best-practice guidelines for interventions to reduce burnout levels after individuals have developed (clinical) burnout? How should interventions be tailored to employees at risk for burnout versus those who have dropped out because of clinical levels of burnout?

We are calling for papers that concern the following possible topics, but are not limited to:

  1. New theoretical processes through which macro and micro factors at work have beneficial or adverse effects on burnout.
  2. The individual experience of burnout, including diagnosis of burned-out employees and the developmental process of burnout over time.
  3. Theoretical processes through which burnout has adverse effects on behavioral outcomes.
  4. The influence of multi-level organizational (e.g., management, leaders) and individual factors (e.g., personality) on changes in individual burnout experiences.
  5. Individual (successful and unsuccessful) strategies employees use to deal with burnout.
  6. The link between burnout and objective indicators, including performance, financial results, medical mistakes, and physiological markers.
  7. Burnout (e-health) interventions and trainings.

Submission guidelines

We seek innovative and expansive thinking and encourage high-quality empirical and theoretical/conceptual papers across a range of particularly quantitative methodologies and analytical techniques. In particular, we invite original papers that represent novel and significant efforts to look beyond existing burnout knowledge to ‘close the gaps’ in the body of knowledge and chart new pathways for future research. Cross-sectional studies and studies using student samples will not be considered for the special issue.

Manuscripts should be submitted by December 1, 2019.

Papers should be submitted through the journal’s online submissions system via http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/pewo, as a submission for this Special Issue.


Editorial Information

Evangelia Demerouti (Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands), e.demerouti@tue.nl

Arnold B. Bakker (Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands), bakker@essb.eur.nl

Maria C. W. Peeters (Utrecht University, The Netherlands| Eindhoven University of Technology), m.peeters@uu.nl

Kimberley Breevaart (Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands), breevaart@essb.eur.nl


Alarcon, G., Eschleman, K. J., & Bowling, N. A. (2009). Relationships between personality variables and burnout: A meta-analysis. Work & Stress, 23, 244-263.

Bakker, A. B., & Costa, P. (2014). Chronic job burnout and daily functioning: A theoretical analysis. Burnout Research, 1, 112-119.

Bakker, A.B., & Demerouti, E. (2017). Job Demands-Resources theory: taking stock and looking forward. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 22, 273-285.

Demerouti, E. (2015). Strategies used by individuals to prevent burnout. European Journal of Clinical Investigation, 45, 1106-1112.

Demerouti, E., Bakker, A. B., Nachreiner, F., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2001). The job demands-resources model of burnout. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86, 499-512.

Marchand, A., Juster, R. P., Durand, P., & Lupien, S. J. (2014). Burnout symptoms sub-types and cortisol profiles: What’s burning most? Psychoneuroendocrinology, 40, 27-36.

Danhof-Pont, M. B., van Veen, T., & Zitman, F. G. (2011). Biomarkers in burnout: a systematic review. Journal of psychosomatic research 70, 505-524

Xanthopoulou, D., & Meier, L. L. (2014). Daily burnout experiences. Critical events and measurement challenges. In M. P. Leiter, A. B. Bakker, & C. Maslach, (Eds.), Burnout at work: A psychological perspective (pp. 80–101). Hove: Psychology Press.